Is It Time to Take Your Workflow In For a Checkup?
Almost every business has documents that go through some kind of work process such as expense reports and application processing that uses some kind of Business Process Management [BPM]. BPM is generally defined as a systematic approach to improving and automating an organization’s business processes and workflows. These workflows may be core to your business process and over the years as rules, regulation, and other external factors alter the original flow it is critical to to plan on performing regularly scheduled checkups of your BPM processes.
While supporting systems that have little or no changes to their BPM workflow maps in over a decade it is very common to run into issues and complications caused by knowledge workers who have devised workarounds for changes that have occurred over time. One of the biggest problems I see with not revisiting and performing analysis and research to get a current picture on a regular basis is User Acceptance.
When we run into this type of a situation the knowledge workers are often frustrated and highly irritated with the software and how the system works. The user feels that their performance is based on rules and regulations that no longer apply and will complain stating “I had nothing to do with how this was configured”, “this is how we do it because it has always been like this” and “I don’t understand why we have to do it this way.” The user is often very negative about the inefficiencies and wants to tell everyone and anyone willing to listen. This can have an immense impact on the work environment and acceptance of your ECM system and future applications.
Where to start: The efficient flow of documents through your organization is critical to remaining competitive and document management and workflow solutions are proven to cut cost and improve efficiencies. If you have been using a rules based electronic workflow for over 3-5 years it is a good practice to review the “as is” state of the workflows and update them on a regular basis. BPM workflow updates should be visible to upper management and budgeted for the future along with software upgrades. Most importantly involve the knowledge works in the discovery and development process. “Because we have always done it this way” does not need to be the number one comment about your ECM system. The success of BPM is rooted in starting with the right process and continuing best practices for regular checkups and maintenance.